How to Get Medium Format Colors With Your Full-Frame Camera

Medium-format cameras have long been known for their excellent image quality and incredible ability when it comes to rendering colors. Phase One's latest camera, the IQ3 100MP Trichromatic, takes this a step further and you can now get extremely accurate and effective colors, straight out of the camera. To learn more about the Trichromatic and how it compares to the "standard" 100MP back from Phase One, check out my previous article. The main issue with medium-format cameras such as these is that they cost significantly more than what most of us would like to pay. What if we could attain that level of quality without needing to spend anywhere as close?

In my latest video, I compare the Canon 5DS R and the Phase One Trichromatic to demonstrate how with just a few adjustments, you can take your images to the level of medium format and possibly even beyond that. To do this I use an X-Rite ColorChecker Passport. Many of you have probably seen the results this device can help create, but, chances are you've probably never seen it compares to medium format let alone the trichromatic. In my view, it's nothing short of incredible how much of an impact this can have on your images. Colors are extremely important and I highly recommend this relatively cheap option. 

Check out the video for the full comparison, images are available for download using the link the video description.

Usman Dawood's picture

Usman Dawood is a professional architectural photographer based in the UK.

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Previous comments

To be honest, I was excited about watching this video. And then I looked at the 2 images before any changes were made, and they looked almost exactly alike to start. Yea the green wasn't as saturated, but honestly, Saturation+1 and I'm done. :) Perhaps it's my older eyes. But then again, I don't see much benefit in the trichromatic to start with, unless you were in art historian/documentation circles.

I have NEVER gotten good color rendition from using my x rite color checker in the studio (clubs with various lighting schemes are a different story). I use auto temp in camera and have color accurate strobes, both which provide the best color rendition, for me at least.

I’d love to see a comparison. Also what software have you tried?

I use the saturation slider in lightroom. Sometimes I'll push it to 50+ When I'm done I click export as jpg. The colors always look fine for me.

You don’t really do that right? Lol

I hope this was a typo and you meant to type 5, not 50. :-)

He’s having us on lol. Just looked at his pictures he’s obviously very capable.

Lol I fell for it haha.

I looked at this pictures too and ... what the hell were we talking about? :)


skimmed for 20 seconds, so he just profiled the DSLR photo with an Xrite...? If thats all this is, click bate.

Would be click bait if I used a false title. My title is very appropriate for the video and comparison.

The title isn't accurate. You are not getting "medium format" colors, you are just creating a custom profile for your camera. In fact, your own video shows that once profiled the full frame is still NOT the same as medium format.

It's also a myth thinking that an 18 patch color target from xrite is going to give you accurate colors. The DNG profiles are too saturated. It's better than canned if you need accurate color rendering, but it's not perfect. To say that this is "Medium Format Colors With Your Full-Frame Camera", pure click bate. It touches nothing on P1 color science and what those cameras produce (and I'm not saying accuracy is what gives them that look). Go shoot a P1 back for a month and go back to a 35mm kit, even when DNG profiled and you will understand.

I think you're both really over analysing this one.

You made the false claim and we called you on your BS. Click Bait.

I noticed you went and disliked ALL of my comments lol.

Clickbait is a scourge that you are perpetuating.

What's the difference between the i1studio and the ColorMunki Photo?

I don't know myself but I had a very brief conversation with X-rite about it and they said the i1 is more in-depth and will create better more accurate profiles.

I don't personally know the difference or how much better it is.

You mentioned in the video about loading a profile. Which profile? The one for your color lab or the one from Passport?

I profile I used on the Canon was from the colour checker passport, it was done in Lightroom. Hope that helps :).

Usman, thanks for the video - need to spread the word for more people to use the color checkers. I did want to ask however, i noticed that you did not apply the profile in CaptureOne directly and loaded a TIFF file. Does that mean that the profile was actually applied outside of C1 ? -- did you use lightroom to apply or another 3rd party package. I have been unsuccessful in trying to apply an ICC profile generated from Colorchecker directly in C1 with actual accurate results. I'd love to know your full workflow ...
Thanks much, look forward to your reply !

Thank you for the comment, much appreciated. I agree I think everyone should have something like to improve their colours.

For this particular comparison, I used Lightroom to apply the profile to the Canon then imported it back in C1.

I have found an effective solution for creating ICC profiles using the colour checker in C1 so I'll be writing an article up about that too.